4.8 Mgnitude Earthquake Hits Sicily

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Early this morning, A 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit Sicily. Officials said that it damaged various buildings and injured approximately 30 people around the city of Catania, a city that is located on the slopes of Mount Etna, an active volcano.

The quake comes after an eruption from the volcano two days ago, which sent a massive plume of ash into the sky, forcing the temporary closure of the airport of Catania on the east coast of the island.

The earthquake was experienced at 2.19 am UK time, prompting the Sicilians to evacuate their homes and sleep in their cars. Officials said that some shockwaves were felt especially strongly since the epicentre of the quake was a relatively shallow one km deep.

Some pictures on TV showed damage to old buildings that are located in nearby towns Zafferana Etnea and Santa Venerina, with several of the centuries-old churches of the area sustaining the most damage. Thankfully, they were empty when the quake struck.

According to officials, approximately 30 people suffered some injuries, mostly from the debris that were falling as they attempted to escape their homes, with 10 people being brought to the hospital by ambulances.

According to Reuters, The ash cloud from the initial eruption of Etna covered various nearby towns on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Catania airport serves a city of approximately 300,000 people. On Christmas Day, it said that the airspace would return to normal operations by 8 pm local time (7 pm UK time).